Tag Archives: hawaii

Elizabeth Smart is my hero

I hope that didn’t sound sarcastic, because I mean it. Let me explain why…

When the 14-year-old Mormon Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped in 2002, it got a fair amount of attention in my part of the world. I live in Canada near Buffalo, and so a lot of our radio and TV stations come from “over the river”. The Canadian media also reported on things a fair bit.

I only had 1 child at the time (a baby) and I could only imagine what her parents must have been going through. When she was found, it seemed like a miracle.

I wondered how “messed up” this young woman would be. She had to try to get back to a normal life after almost daily rapes. Her life was threatened and she was forcibly removed from her home. Could she grow up and be “normal”?

I have no idea how difficult it was, but it was great to hear that she was going on a mission (to France). Then later came word that she was getting married (I think in the Hawaii Temple).

Now she has written a book, and apparently she tells it all. I read somewhere that she figured there would be no point in writing a book if she only shared half the story.

So after all of that, I thought, “Good for her! What a nice person.” Then earlier this week she was interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air. That is when she truly became my hero. She was so calm; so well-spoken; a person who didn’t seem to be full of hate or bitterness; a person who cherished her family; a person who knows that God loves her. She showed her faith, and represented her family and the Church well.

People like Elizabeth are heroes. Movie stars, athletes and pop stars generally aren’t. I’ve been lucky enough in my life to know a couple of people who have overcome huge challenges and I marvel at how they managed. Faith played a large part. The support of loved ones (family, friends, and community) helped.

If these people can survive what they have gone through, and even flourish afterwards, then it inspires me to keep slogging through my difficulties.

Thank you Elizabeth and others for being such an example to us all.

182nd Semiannual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon General Session

I’m at home for the afternoon session. My kids are bundled up in their blankets (as is my wife) and we will watch at least the first half hour or hour together. The kids will probably then go off and play while my wife and I watch the rest. We also have a friend from Church (one of my institute students) who came to see it with us.


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted

The choir sang Arise, O Glorious Zion

Elder Gerrit W. Gong offered the invocation

The choir sang I Am a Child of God

President Henry B Eyring did the sustainings

Elder L Tom Perry

  • turned 90-years-old this summer
  • some values today are slipping and need to be defended
  • read a letter he wrote to his mother when he was in WWII
  • lessons taught at home are increasingly important
  • the adversary is attacking commitments to family life
  • parents must resolve that teaching in the home is the most sacred responsibility
  • strengthen our family cultures in these ways:
    1. parents can pray in earnest that love, understand guide their children
    2. hold Family Home Evening, scripture study, and eat together
    3. fully avail themselves of the Church support network  (talk to teachers, leaders, presidencies) to provide essential understanding
    4. share testimonies with their children and commit them to keep the commandments of God
    5. organize our families based on clear simple family rules and expectations, traditions, rituals, and economics
  • teach at the cradle-side

Elder M Russell Ballard

  • said that Elder Perry must be the youngest 90-year-old in the Church
  • spoke about how his father had bees to help pollinate peach trees
  • to produce 1 lb of honey, the average hive of 20,000-60,000 bees must collectively visit millions of flowers and travel the equivalent of 2x around the world
  • a single bees contribution is a mere 1/12 of 1 teaspoon
  • although seemingly insignificant, each bees contribution is vital to the life of a hive
  • they depend on each other
  • the beehive has long been a symbol in our Church
  • great things are brought about and burdens are lightened by the action of many hands
  • our troubled world needs the love of Christ
  • our minds and our hearts need to be anxiously engaged throughout the week
  • we don’t need religious fanaticism; we need to assimilate the doctrines deep within our hearts
  • in your morning prayer each new day ask Heavenly Father to recognize opportunities to serve

Elder Larry Echo Hawk

  • told a story about his marine sergeant; the sergeant was ridiculing everyone, but when he saw his Book of Mormon, he left him alone
  • shared his feelings about the  Book of Mormon; he felt it was a history of his people
  • the Book of Mormon is sacred scripture

The choir and congregation sang Let Us All Press On

Elder Robert C Gay

  • would you sell your soul for a nickel?
  • does one drink really matter?
  • Satan tries to get us to justify what we’ve done
  • we are to give up all of our sins, big or small
  • we must always hearken to the voice of the Spirit within us, wherever it takes us

Elder Scott D Whiting

  • told a story about the work on the Hawaii temple
  • the contractor had to fix some things that were very minor because they were not up to temple standards
  • the temples are built for our use, but there should be no doubt as to whose house it is
  • we are each made of the finest materials, however our own temple can come in need of renovation and repair

Elder Neil L Andersen

  • told story about the Marriott family losing their daughter
  • the gift of faith is a priceless spiritual endowment
  • our faith is protected in the Church (as we participate in the various programs/ordinances/meetings)
  • when you tested, stay within the security of the household of God
  • no trial is so large we can’t overcome it together
  • God’s ways are higher than our ways

Elder Dallin H Oaks

  • all children are children of God
  • worldwide there are millions of children victimized by adults
  • one of the most serious abuses of children is to deny them of birth
  • low birthrates is not just a religious issue; cultures and nations will be hollowed out and disappear
  • worldwide there are 40 million abortions per year
  • making a child feel worthless or unloved can hurt them for life
  • marriage isn’t just about the adults; the children are impacted for good or bad
  • divorcing parents teach a negative lesson
  • the family structure that produces the best outcome is two biological parents who remain married
  • 41% of all births in the US were to unwed mothers
  • for children, the stability of marriage matters

The choir sang On This Day of Joy and Gladness

Elder José L Alonso offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 182nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

181st Annual General Conference – Saturday Afternoon General Session

During the time between the two sessions, my family went for a walk in the ravine behind our house. Spring is slowly making its appearance 🙂  I also cleaned up (showered and shaved). Lastly, I watched the April 2011 edition of the World Report. I love getting some of that “behind-the-scenes” information that show report shares.

Now we’re all gathered together again in the living room ready for the second session.


President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted.

A combined choir from BYU-Idaho sang How Firm a Foundation

Elder Kevin W Pearson offered the invocation

Sustainings presented by President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • During the sustainings of the apostles, Elder Robert D Hales had a huge knee brace on. He also had small clear tubes on his lap. They looked like they were oxygen tubes. Did anyone see him with them on, or were they for something else?
  • A bunch of  Area Seventies were released and sustained
  • (at one point during the sustainings, the Internet feed paused and my 3-year-old daughter said it was scratched)
  • There were a total of 10 new General Authorities sustained
  • There were no changes to any of the auxiliary presidencies

Robert W Cantwell Managing Directory of the Church Auditing presented the Church Auditing Department Report

  • Council of the Disposition of the Tithes consists of the First Presidency, Quorum of 12, Presiding Bishopric
  • Things are being administer

Brook P Hales, Secretary to the First Presidency presented the Statistical Report of the Church for the year 2010

The choir sang How Great the Wisdom and the Love

President Boyd K Packer (he was sitting down)

  • 400 years since the publishing of the bible
  • We should use the full name of the Church whenever possible
  • Ordinances are done through the authority of Jesus Christ
  • We have the same organization as Jesus Christ had
  • If someone is looking for a church that requires very little, this is not the one
  • Regardless of what happens in the world, no power can stop this work
  • Do a lot of forgiving, and a little repenting, and you will be blessed

Elder Russell M Nelson

  • thank you for your uplifting service
  • our faith now becomes part of our posterity’s faith later
  • the forces of evil will ever be in opposition to the forces of good
  • to prepare to meet God, one keeps all of God’s commandments
  • when we are faithful, He and His angels will bear us up
  • God will hear your sincere prayers

The choir and congregation sang Press Forward, Saints

Elder Richard J Maynes

  • the principle of eternal families is an essential element in God’s plan
  • the family is ordained of God
  • establish celestial traditions
  • kids don’t remember the FHE topic, but they remember having FHE
  • kids don’t remember what was read in the scriptures that morning, but they remember that they read them
  • Shared a poem by C C Miller

Elder Cecil O Samuelson Jr

  • he has worked with the young people in the Church for many years
  • who is entitled to have a testimony? anyone who is willing to pay the price
  • everyone has worth because we are all children of God

Elder Dallin H Oaks

  • what do we really desire?
  • desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, choices determine our actions
  • desire, labour, and faith brought Enos the blessings he wanted
  • told story of Aron Ralson, the guy who cut off his own arm to save his life
  • we need to cut and carve ourselves free from addictions and other things that prevent our eternal progress
  • the desire to receive and keep a marriage for eternity should be paramount (priority efforts)
  • we cannot follow the politically correct but eternally false concept that we don’t need to be married and have children

Elder M Russell Ballard

  • told a nice story about a person who wanted gold; he was looking for nuggets, and missing the flecks of gold that would fill his pouch
  • by small and simple things are great things come to pass
  • we should keep our lives simple
  • charity begins at home
  • practice the golden rule
  • we need to serve
  • the most important attribute that we should seek to possess is charity, the pure love of Christ

The choir sang Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise

Elder ??? offered the benediction (President Uchtdorf didn’t announce who it was going to be)


Read the recaps and other notes from the 181st Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

181st Annual General Conference – Saturday Morning General Session

The first session of conference had the traditional announcement of new temples. One of them is in Canada, so we were excited. We also pointed out the kids that President Monson thanked them for paying their tithing.

We enjoyed our lunch during the first part, and then we let the kids go and play. We’re going to have them watch some of each session, and all of the Sunday Morning General Session.


The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang Rejoice, the Lord is King!

President Dieter F Uchtdorf conducted. He noted that this conference marks the 75th anniversary of the welfare program of the Church.

The choir sang Glory to God on High

Elder Allan F Packer offered the invocation

President Thomas S. Monson

The choir sang We Listen to a Prophet’s Voice

Elder L Tom Perry

  • Christ had dual citizenship, in heaven and on earth
  • the world is saturated with the doctrines of men
  • keep the sabbath holy
  • it is a glorious thing to be a Christian
  • now is the time to teach your children to be examples of the believers

Sister Jean A Stevens

  • children are the first to love, and the first to forgive
  • the Savior has a special appreciate for little children
  • “behold” the little ones, don’t just glance at them. Embrace them, see and appreciate them

Elder Walter F Gonzalez

  • anyone from any background can learn that Joseph Smith saw God
  • followers of Christ are loving people
  • followers of Christ make and keep covenants
  • following Christ might mean forsaking certain things
  • the power of our covenants is greater than an trial we may face

The choir and congregation sang I Know That My Redeemer Lives

Elder Kent F Richards

  • thought abut the purpose of pain
  • people cope differently
  • pain is a gauge of the healing process
  • sometimes a healing lifts our burdens; other times we are healed by being able to cope
  • all souls can be healed by His power; all pain can be soothed

Elder Quentin L Cook

  • LDS women are incredible
  • spoke a lot about how female members of the church are
  • they succor the weak, lift up the hands that hang down, strengthen the feeble knees
  • no woman should apologize because she is devoting her time to raising her children
  • we should all be careful not be judgmental if a woman chooses to work out side the home (we don’t know people’s circumstances)
  • the errand of angels is given to women

The choir sang I Know That My Savior Loves Me

President Henry B Eyring

  • consecrate your time and means to join with God in serving others
  • gave examples of people helping others
  • everyone is happier when they can provide for themselves
  • when we join hands to serve people in need, the Lord unites our hearts

The choir sang High on the Mountain Top

Elder Dale G Renlund offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 181st Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: